Thirty Seconds Ago… Elevator Ride

Boom! That’s the sound that should have been made as I badged through the security gate this particular Friday morning. If you didn’t know any better you would have thought I owned the entire Coca-Cola brand. This is not a strange feeling for me though. I’m always trying to make sure my ego is on the lower of its three settings. There’s confident, cocky, and only person on the planet; and this Friday morning, I did not mentally calibrate to function with not even one of the other 7 billion individuals surrounding me. I was walking on air, with the wind to my back, and “Eye of the Tiger” was playing in the background everywhere I went.

Even though feeling like the only person on the planet is a fantastic feeling, it removes the part of reasoning that tells you to take precautions. Since your five senses have shut off everything and everyone around you, does not mean that everything and everyone around you has ceased to exist. This ego trip is usually ended with a very very rude awakening. Rarely do you make it to the end of the day in the same mood. Friday, mine last about 45 minutes.

I start every day over a cup of coffee. I substitute breakfast for that cup of coffee. It’s all I need. Once I got to the coffee bar, they had my favorite blend – Jamaican Me Crazy.

“I’ll have your daily special blend… Large.”

“No dark roast today?” asked my barista. I was a daily regular and would love to think that I’m also her favorite.

“No ma’am,” I responded… And that’s when the boiled eggs behind the glass counter caught my attention. “But I will have the boiled eggs.” The eggs came in twos in little clear plastic cups and lids. Nothing would be denied me today. I saw eggs, so I bought them; didn’t even want them.

“All set,” Ms. Ann said as she passed me my order. I paid, thanked her as always and headed to my desk.

By the time I had reached my seat, half of the brewed goodness had met its end. So without delay, I made quick work of the first egg. I don’t know if I hadn’t had one in a while, or if it was really that good. So I downed the second on to compare it to the first. It was mediocre. The rest of the coffee capped my mini breakfast. Off to work I went.

Not even an hour later, I heard a weird noise that instantly disrupted my workflow. I looked around to see if I could find anything to account for the sound. I did not, so I continued my tasks.

Then again; the sound. This time it was accompanied by a vibration in my stomach. I knew at that moment that I was in trouble. Sweat started to form above my brow and “Eye of the Tiger” had stopped playing in the middle of the second verse. I was instantly aware of everyone around me as I tried to map the quickest escape route to the most private restroom.

“You’ve done it now, genius,” I thought. “Coffee and eggs… You’re not used to that. You should have known better!”

I coolly slipped from my cubicle towards the stairwell. I flew down the steps and resumed coolness as strolled across the campus to the service elevators. I couldn’t chance being on an elevator with someone and holding this kind of pressure. I pressed the button over and over in an attempt to rush its arrival. It had been about a minute and the elevator was still twelve floors from the ground, and seemed to be stopping on every floor.

The risk had to be taken. I stiffly walked around to the regular passenger elevators. The strolling was done. Being cool was over. Humility had set in, and my ego had left me high and dry. All I needed now was a private restroom, and would be ever so grateful to get to one.

Good. No one was waiting. I pressed up and jumped on at the sound of the ding. “Nineteen please,” I said to myself. In a few seconds, I would be just fine. However, I hadn’t calculated that some pretty intern would get on at the fourth floor excited about her job and looking forward to meeting new people.

As the elevator slowed to a stop, I grew angry and nervous at the same time. The young lady stepped inside, glowing of ambition. She smiled and said, “Hello.” I could only nod back in response. It took forever for the doors to close again. There was a little wisp of wind fighting to escape from me, but I would not let this happen to me – or this poor innocent girl. I squeezed a little harder as the sweat beaded across my forehead. The numbers on the wall indicating our position only marked us at floor nine. I looked at the number pad of floor choices simply to realize she hadn’t pressed anything. My stomach turned as I realized I might not be able to keep my body in submission for the rest of the trip. If I were to press another button and scurry off, I might offend her in some way… Not to mention any sudden movements from me might offend her in another way. I decided to take my chances and stand completely still.

“Are you okay?” I guess she had taken notice of my sweating, stiffness, silence and overall awkwardness. The question caught me off guard and startled me. I turned and gave her a blank stare as I released an unfortunate tragedy on both of us. It was a quiet, long release. Worry filled her eyes as she tried to comprehend my state of being. I could only stare and shake my head as what I hoped she could interpret as an apology for what was about to happen to her. An unsettling odor crept from beneath us and ploddingly wrapped itself around our throats. The young lady, now recognizing the situation, slowly started to shake her head as to deny the apologies of my own shaking head. Eyes locked, we both tried to cope; she with betrayal and I with deathly embarrassment. She let out a whimper of a cough as the almost visible smell clouded the space between us. I said, “I’m so sorry.” She didn’t respond. I’m pretty sure it was to avoid breathing any more of the poison.

It took what seemed to be five whole minutes before the doors opened to the nineteenth floor. She rushed off before me and went left. Thankfully, I had to travel to the right to my rarely inhabited restroom. I stayed there for nearly an hour to for fear of seeing her when I exited. When I did come out though, I rushed towards the service elevators to take the less-traveled route back to my side of the campus.

Fortunately for me though, I never saw that young lady again… Up until about thirty seconds ago…

Ebola Fighter – Dauda Fullah

On a peaceful drive home, I decided to tune in to NPR radio to hear some unbiased world news reports. I’m glad I did, because I was served a double dose of hope and conviction. The radio host was discussing a surviving Ebola patient named Dauda Fullah.

Dauda lost his entire family to the Ebola virus starting with his father, whom he helped bury. After he was admitted to the Kenema Hospital treatment center in Sierra Leone, he was joined by his remaining immediate family; they had also contracted the virus. Over the span of a few weeks, 23-year-old Dauda lost his father, stepmother, brother, sister and grandmother.

The full story can be found here:

What really got my attention is Dauda’s attitude after what would have probably put me in a state of depression for a long long time. After making a full recovery, the young man stated that he felt that it was only right to go back and work at that same recovery clinic where he witnessed people put their lives on the line to nurse him back to health. Now Dauda does the same thing. He endures the heat of the protective gear he has to wear, the emotional strains of seeing lives lost, while still grieving the loss of his own to encourage and nurse patients the same way he was encouraged and nursed.

This is the type of love and conviction towards mankind that I feel can make a difference throughout the entire world. Dauda Fullah’s name has made its way all the way from Sierra Leone through the airwaves of Atlanta, Georgia and has caused me to reevaluate my efforts towards issues in my communities. You can want to make a change in your surroundings for the better. Your heart can be in the right place towards the issues. Nonetheless, the only two things that matter to the victims of those situations you want to help, are your efforts and your money. It might sound brash, but sitting and thinking about how bad you wish things were better is not going to change anything. If you want change in any area, it takes time and effort. If you don’t have the time to put forth the effort, there are more than enough places that could always use monetary donations. Dauda has dedicated all of his time, putting his life on the line to help those who are going through what he has already overcome. I’m sure his words of encouragement to those hoping for another chance at life, are oftentimes more valuable than any amount of money.

The other perspective I had on this situation is what truly brought about my conviction. I should be able to take Dauda’s situation and learn to put forth that same effort before a life-altering catastrophe force me to see what is really important. I’m not saying that Dauda himself, should have been doing that before, because he was already employed as a lab technician at a hospital doing more than I have ever done to help those around me in need. It is just a realization of changes that I have to make to confidently call myself a Christian. Dauda, says he prays for and with his patients everyday and for the eradication of the Ebola virus in general. He does not leave all the changing to be done by his prayers, but he actually put forth the efforts which shows his faith in that his prayers will be answered. I’m sure if any one of us, worked as hard as he does, we would believe the same thing.

This article from Sierra Leone lets me see how tragedy could one day strike me and snap al of my priorities into place. I would much rather have them in place beforehand, so that if disaster did strike one day, I would be better equipped to deal with it. My honest opinion is Dauda Fullah, already had the right perspective on life before this happened to him – and now he can be an example and encouragement to others around the world.

I Suck At Poetry

The worst critic of any literary piece is normally the author. Hardly ever can I, or any other writer I’ve met, complete a piece of any size, and just be done. I understand that editing is a necessary part of the process, but seems to be hard to finish and be completely happy with what you’ve done. The more you read, the more you find better words to fit in place of another word. Even so, changing that word would possibly give a different meaning to that sentence, do you have to decide to keep the original word or remove the sentence.

“But if I keep the original word, does that make it really the better?”

It gets to the point where I have to tell myself, “It clearly gets my point across in the style that I wanted. I can’t find any grammatical errors. I’m happy with it.” At that point, I’m only ninety-nine percent happy at best. I close that essay, chapter or poem and leave it to the rest of the critics.

Now with all of that being said, once I close the case on any project, I have reached a point of overall satisfactory; unless I attempt to write poetry.

I suck at poetry. The realization takes away from the desire to properly convey the feelings of disgust I’m having right now. So I’m settling for, “I suck at poetry” to simply say what I mean and get it over with. Growing up, my dad hated the term “suck” and would have much rather preferred my siblings and I use a substitute with a bit more tact. This only led me to use “suck” when I really felt something could not get any worse than its current state. Therefore, I suck at poetry.

The good thing about this is that I actually enjoy writing poetry. I love translating my emotional stresses and joys into literary coherency that can be felt by others through reading. I love transcribing nature’s scenes into words that attempt to convey what is beheld in the eyes. Unfortunately, poetry is the only form of writing that I feel can make a decent attempt at getting these feelings across. The good thing about poetry is that most of it is first-person based. There is no standard form to my feelings or how I convey them. The fashions, styles, techniques and even grammatical choices are normally left to the writer.

I guess at this point, you may ask, “How then, can one suck at poetry?” My response would be the same way someone can suck at painting. Then there is the argument of abstract art, and that every viewer sees something different, even from what the artist may have portrayed. Is that what poetry is? Abstract? I’m asking as I write.

Literally, I have started to change my argument as I am typing. I read Robert Frost again and again and again. Have I started to compare mine to his and in the process lost my individuality? Or am I really not as good as I think?

Nope. Even when I try standardized forms, it just does not flow as well as I know it should. Even some of my peers write some of the most elegant pieces with ease, whereas I sweat over bumbling lines of trash before labeling it “100% Effort”.

I feel as though I have poetic thoughts. I can write poetic lines. I can say a poetic phrase. I do not think I’m good at poetry as a genre though. The realization that you may not be good at something that you love, can really put a damper on your mood. However, I love it to the point where I’ll continue writing it and sharing it as though it’s the best in the world.

It’s the equivalent of knowing that I lack the looks of Denzel Washington, the physique of Idris Elba and the charm of Will Smith; but I still feel like their little brother and will eventually grow into my own. I may not be the very best at it, but I’m the best I can be at it right now. I’ll get better.

Price of Peace

People always talk about peace and attaining peace and spreading peace; but none of this can be done if you are not a peaceful individual. If you are not a peaceful person, you are not fit to lead any campaign for the progression of peace. If you are not a peaceful nation, you cannot lead the world in a campaign for the progression of peace. If you are, in fact, a peaceful person, and you want to make a change that will bring forth peace in any environment, you have to be peaceful yourself first. Then you have to surround yourself with other like-minded peaceful people who can be led towards that one common goal.

There is an island of lawless rebels where only the strong survive. If you are not one of the strong, you have to align yourself with a strong group to ensure survival in exchange for all of your rights as an individual. Just imagine a prison environment on an island.

What would happen if we drop five peaceful people in the middle of that? How long would it take for them to conform to the dog-eat-dog nature? Or how long would it take for them to be… exterminated?

Now if we flip the demographics of this theoretical island and the peaceful are the majority with five violent people… What happens next? Will the peaceful people “get rid of” the violent ones to preserve their ways of life? If they do, are they still peaceful? Or will the violent people have to cause a considerable amount of damage before anything is done at all? The only thing that I’m sure of, is that those five will definitely cause some damage.

Peaceful people will do whatever they have to do to avoid confrontation. That’s what make them peaceful. Often these acts of consideration are mistaken for weaknesses and fearfulness, when in fact, they are direct opposite. It takes a special type of strength to avoid retaliation to direct wrongdoings.

The term dog-eat-dog world has at no time been something that I agree with simply because not everyone is a dog. I’m not a dog and I never intend to be one. I don’t want to kill, simply to not be killed. So what do I do? Do peaceful people adapt to the degree of ferocity around them to survive? To excel? To be noticed?

These are not rhetorical questions. I would honestly like to see what other peoples’ opinions are when it comes to this.

Dr. King led an entire nation to change with nonviolent protesting. Now while this may look like a weak approach to solving such a violent and hateful era that our country was in, I believe it is the only thing that would have worked. It took years of persistence though. It took sleepless nights. It took a vision of a better future for his people and this country. Unfortunately, in the end his life was still the price that had to be paid before change was made. It goes back to my idea that it takes a love that is bigger than the scope of your own life. Many people see the problems, but not many have the compassion and love that it takes to give their all to bring about the necessary change.

Jesus Christ gave his life for the sins of all mankind knowing that not everyone would accept his message; nevertheless he suffered the crucifixion for those who would accept him, even if it was just one. Never did he teach hate. Never did he condone it from anyone else. But yet and still he was executed in the worst and most shameful way, never laying a finger on anyone for their harm.

Hate and violence seems to always overcome those who are against it. The individual becomes a martyr for that belief, but to those who will witness the price that is paid, they are only examples of what not to do. The love of the cause, or humanity, or simply your neighbor has to be greater than the fear of death to begin a peaceful and selfless world.

With that being said, I also understand why some people say, “How can I change anything? I’, just one person.” I get it. It seems to be a task way too large to even make a dent. The way I see it though, is that the only reason the world is still turning is because there is always a man or woman willing to voluntarily pay the ultimate price for the greater good. If it were not for that handful of martyrs, where would we be today? That gives me hope. If we can just get more people to give a little more and want a little less, the price will be less expensive for an individual.

Is it unattainable? Hopefully, at my life’s end I’ll be able to answer more positively than I feel within my heart right now. I can hope though. We are all capable of sharing perspectives, giving in compassion and changing through love. That’s what gives me hope for the world.

Learning to share the funnel cake

write meg!

Funnel cake

I see you over there, eyeballin’ my funnel cake.

It looks fantastic, right? The ultimate in fried pleasure. Perfectly golden on the outside, crispy on the edges, but still doughy in the center.

Warm from the fryer, the grease soaking through my paper plate.

Covered in powdered sugar, which is just beginning to form the most finger-licking crust.

Few things in life provide as much joy as a really good funnel cake — and they’re not all created equal, friends. The ones at our local baseball stadium? Lackluster. The creations at our county fair? AMAZING.

I know I should share one with my sister, a fellow funnel cake lover, or my husband — but, you know, I’m greedy. I can’t help myself. Though I have no problem stealing food off others’ plates (rude, I know), I don’t like to share dessert.


As I continue seeking healthy eating and try…

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Thirty Seconds Ago… Workout

More than going to the gym to actually workout, I liked dressing up to go to the gym. I liked the gym look. As I looked in the mirror and flexed a bit, I was actually checking out my new kicks. They matched my gray sweat pants and baseball cap; and a black v-neck tee a size too small just to add definition to the cut of my upper arms. So with my gray and black getup on, I decided it was time to start my normal routine for the most cardio with the least sweat. That normally consisted of about fifteen minutes on the treadmill and one round of weights. Ten leg presses, ten bicep curls, ten bench presses, and ten inclined sit-ups is usually how I finished. I often left in a fashion that showed no signs of having worked out at all. I didn’t really need to work out though. I maintained a reasonable size and weight with this routine and was happy where I was.

So this particular day would have been the same; if the other me wouldn’t have shown up. This guy waltzes in with the exact same thing I have on except the colors are all inverted. The hat was identical though. Everything else was a gray to my black and a black to my gray. I instantly felt like my territory was being threatened. Now there were dudes in that gym three times my size, and there were dudes in the gym half my size. I was that middle size that you couldn’t tell if I was in the gym to gain weight or lose weight. I was toned enough to tell I had some workout ethic, but not it didn’t look as though I worked out everyday for three hours a day. I looked natural, and I liked it that way. So here comes this other natural-looking dude with the exact same thing on that I have on. As I was folding my decorative workout towels and placing them in my nice Nike show bag, I slowly look this guy over and noticed his chest was slightly bigger than mine. Whereas I more keen to being slim and keeping fat off, he was more keen to muscle building. He just walked right by the treadmills like they weren’t even there! He carried his muscle-bound ego straight towards the weight bench that I had just finished with and loaded forty more pounds onto the bar. I was even trying to stare discreetly anymore. I felt like he was making this a personal competition, and I needed to know what I was up against.

“Reggie, stop it.” I thought to myself. “You don’t even know this guy. He’s minding his business, so you just mind yours.” With that I zipped my bag and stood to my feet.

He was staring right at me. I was leaving, but his gaze stopped me right in my tracks. He was thinking the same thing I was thinking. I knew I wasn’t crazy. He was intruding on my territory; and my departure was a sign of defeat. He took a swig from his water bottle as gave my sly smirk as he wiped his mouth with the back of hand.

“Who does he think he is?” I dropped my bag right there at the rest bench. I didn’t have time not did I care to take it back to the locker room. I marched to the weight set next to my new worst enemy. He was already in position to lift, so I didn’t have much time to get in position with him. I actually had to take some of the weights off of my bar to match his, so I was nearly sprinting to redefine myself as the dominate average male.

The jerk waited.

As I laid back and gripped the cold metal bar, he said, “Don’t hurt yourself.” I took that as a cue to start. I pushed the bar from the cusps of the rack. This was definitely heavier than the weight that I was used to lifting, but it’s not that I couldn’t lift it; I just never wanted to. I pressed the first five reps out with ease. Number six was a struggle. Number seven ripped open a can of fire in my chest that sent a heat wave through my entire body. My legs were tight from balancing my body on the bench. Sweat popped from my forehead as though my brain was swelling and expelling any unneeded fluids. Yeah… that’s exactly what was happening. An aneurism didn’t seem so far away. This was the immediate problem though. The problem was that the combusted fire can in my chest had sent a heat wave up my arms and locked my elbows. I was stuck. I was stuck and the other me finish his count at fifteen. I heard him drop the bar back into its place and sit up. I guess when he looked and saw me, he knew something had gone wrong.

“Hey bro, you alright?” he asked.There was a genuine sound of concern in his voice. I gritted my teeth and pushed out a “yeeessss” that was worthy of a man taking his last breath. I had been in this position now for about thirty seconds. The elbow locks that had been placed on my arms were about to give out. I started to shake and tremble from the wrist down. The shaking, balancing and sweating felt as though my body was rupturing from the inside out. My feet and legs were now being forced into the air by trying to keep the weights lifted.

My doppelgänger had seen enough, and he rushed over to save my life. When he grabbed the bar, he alleviated more weight from the right side than the left which caused that arm to completely give in. So within a split second, I rolled off the bench and onto the floor as the other half of the weights crashed directly where my neck and head would have been.

The embarrassment was too much to handle. I got up instantly and rushed to grab my bag and escape this prison of shame that I had built around myself. I could tell most of the weight area was completely still, watching me. I heard a few quiet laughs and a “Shawty, almost lost his head”. I almost ran. I kept my composure until I got to the rest bench where my bag had been waiting for me to finish making a fool of myself. I reached down and touched the strap, but my hand and fingers had gone numb. I couldn’t pick it up. I tried with the left hand and noticed I couldn’t even feel the bag. Laughs started to penetrate my very existence.

If I were to die right now, it would only relieve my soul of such cruelty that the human condition cannot bear.

After thinking what I had hoped to be my last poetic thought, I waited for two seconds. I was still very much alive. As a last resort, I stuck on my right foot through the strap and headed out the gym. The noodles on either side of my body just dangled as I gained speed. The glass door flew open as I crashed into it dragging the bag behind me.

Luckily I parked on the side of the building where people couldn’t see me. I had to sit outside my car for twenty minutes before I could manage to retrieve the keys, unlock the door and drive away.

I haven’t been back to that gym. I will never go back to that gym.

And I lived happily ever after… Until about thirty seconds ago…

Thirty Seconds Ago… The Fight

When I looked up and caught the piercing stare of the woman I have called my girlfriend for the last few months, I knew this relationship was over. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I’m sure guys all over the world know that look. It’s the one where they stare past your eyeballs straight into your brain to read your thoughts. It’s the look where their nose is flared up, and they can smell your crap before you even say it. You know that look that they have as if they have the answer to your lie before you tell it? Yeah… It was that look. Even so, it wasn’t the look that bothered me. It was that fact that she was marching straight towards me flailing a single piece of paper. Since I was in the backyard of her house, I could immediately scratch off the fact that she had printed that piece of paper from my own computer. I rarely log off of anything since I’m the only one who uses my computer, so access to old emails from girls before or love letters would have been easy access. Whatever this evidence was that she was holding though, was from her computer, but was about to be used against me. I decided to stop wondering and let her explain.

She stood across from me as I leaned back in the steel garden chair; and awaited the cue to walk away from what had seemed to be a good thing.

The stares continued. I refused to ask the cliché, “What’s wrong?” My mind was made up, and pride had already settled itself deep within me concerning her, that paper she was holding, and whatever she was about to say.

After a few more seconds of awkward nothingness, she threw the paper to me and announced, “I just finished reading your last Thirty Seconds Ago post.” Immediately I released the pride I was holding and remembered what it was about.
“Babe,” I started.

“Oh naw Mr. Casanova! Don’t Babe me now!” That statement introduced me to the first of many neck rolls to come.

I continued, “That was something I had written a while back. I didn’t have time to write anything yesterday, so I just pulled something from a stash.” That was true, and she was buying it. But then I had to go and say, “And how do you know it wasn’t about you?”

The annoyance that had seemed to be fading when I asked that. I had forgotten the details of the essay, but I instantly knew that there were more than enough details in it for my now ex-girlfriend to know that it was not about her. She then reminded me of some of the details.

“Negro, I am five feet four inches tall! Do I look like a “long-legged ladder of love” to you? Oh I guess I’m also a “chocolate treat for the eyes to taste” too?”

“Yeah you can be all of that to me, Babe!” At this point, I was just trying not to laugh. I just wanted this to end in a not-so-messy fashion.

“Please!” she retorted. “Do I look chocolate? I’m lighter than Peter Cottontail and you’re trying to fool me into thinking that was about me! Whoever that is you described sounds like what Mother Earth would look like as a person… And it makes me feel like Frodo Baggins, Reggie! Frodo Baggins!”

I took a pen from my pocket to write down some of the nonsense that was spewing from her frustration. It was too good to not have a record of it.

“Oh so you’re writing this down for your next Thirty Second story? Negro, you may as well call this one Thirty Days Ago because I’m gonna be on you all month!”

I chuckled and replied, “No you won’t.” I picked up my things and headed around the house to my car. Only my hat was still inside. I’d buy another one on the way home. I had my bag with me since I had been working in the fine summer sun.

We spoke on the phone a couple days later and laughed about the whole thing. She blamed most of it on the monthly gift, and we both got over ourselves. We never got back together, but the door isn’t completely closed either.

And I lived happily ever after… Until about Thirty Seconds Ago…

Thirty Seconds Ago… The Flight

With my small carryon bag now snugly tucked away in the overhead bin, I plopped into my seat and made myself comfy for the two and a half hour flight to see my brother in New York. He had been waiting on this day for about a month now and I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world. Everything was set and in order for me to arrive on his campus at about 1 o’clock PM. It was 8AM now and the plane was rustling with its last few passengers getting comfortable. I searched my pockets for my earbuds to enjoy a few tunes on the way (they were also useful for deterring unwanted conversation).

I noticed I was smiling; but I was having a good morning so why stop shouldn’t I be? I granted the portly flight attendant a nod of the head. He was also smiling. You could tell he really enjoyed his job though. He reached up and grabbed the little walkie talkie to address the passengers for our routine instructions and flight details. His beet red cheeks and cheery wide eyes made him a pleasant and reassuring face for the flight.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen,” he started with a voice that was just masculine enough to know that it was a male talking. “We will be departing in about two minutes and I want to assure you that this will be the smoothest ride of your life.” He chuckled, as did couple most the passengers. His jolliness was contagious and his charm was that of an elderly school nurse, who made the visit to her office a calming session in a bad situation. As he rattled off the cruising altitudes and speeds and emergency procedures, I slowly drifted off into thought. 

“What wonderful friends I have, to make sure I get flight vouchers for such a low price. And with such a delightful flight attendant, I could not have asked for a better deal. Just think, I nearly spent four times the amount that I did for a less accommodating flight. WHEW!” The plane shifted and started down the runway. This directed my attention back to the flight attendant as he finished his speech with:

“Thank you all for choosing Skyy Airlines and enjoy your flight to Albany, Georgia.”

“ALBANY, GEORGIA?!?” I asked abruptly. My outburst startled a few of my surrounding flight mates.

“Yes sir,” the round man responded with the first sign of anything besides pleasantness registering on his face since I first laid eyes on him. “Is there a problem?”

With the plane gaining speed down the runway, I humbly replied, “No. Not at all” and laid back into my seat.

I enjoyed all twelve minutes of that flight from Atlanta to Albany, Georgia. My brother got over the fact that no one showed up for his first Family & Friends Day.

And I lived happily ever after… Until about 30 seconds ago…